FORMER Green Party leader Natalie Bennett has joined groups campaigning to ‘Axe Drax’ outside Drax Group Plc’s AGM at York’s Grand Hotel.

Ms Bennett, York council’s Green leader Cllr Andy D’Agorne and about 30 members of Biofuelwatch, Coal Action and local anti-fracking protesters lobbied shareholders yesterday about the burning of wood pellets at Drax power station near Selby.

Leaflets handed out by campaigners claimed that Drax imports pellets made from 13 million tonnes of wood every year, as well as still burning two million tonnes of coal in 2017 alone.

Ms Bennett claimed: “Big biomass is not green, this is your copybook stranded asset. It’s an out-of-date technology.

“We should be going for solar, wind and energy efficiency. Currently, the people of Britain are paying massive subsidies to Drax. That has to stop.”

Biofuelwatch researcher Duncan Law said: “Drax are burning fuel and green-washing it as a good thing to do. Drax pretends that it is green, but it emits more carbon than the fossil fuels it has replaced.”

Biofuelwatch claimed bill payers were subsiding Drax to the tune of £729 million per year - about £2 million per day or £27 per household.

The Drax spokesperson claimed that, as a result of sustainable forest management, trees were growing faster than they are being harvested in the US, resulting in a net decrease of carbon in the atmosphere.

“Taking into account the entire supply chain, using biomass for power generation delivers carbon savings of more than 80 per cent compared with using coal,” they said.

“Government support for renewable energy has brought forward substantial investment in wind, biomass, solar and hydro power generation.

“This has resulted in significant decarbonisation of the country’s energy infrastructure, with almost 30 per cent of the country’s power now coming from renewables.

"Drax itself produced 14 per cent of the UK’s renewable power for 11 per cent of the cost in 2016/17.

“We have invested £700 million transforming the business from coal to biomass, and will spend more to convert a fourth unit.

"This is in addition to the £1 billion annual cost of biomass.”